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Anvil Purchase

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So, I just picked up this anvil the other day, was able to score this piece and a vise in the same day, after I have been looking around for a while. Here in San Diego, blacksmithing equiptment can be few and far between, so I jumped on an opportunity when I could.

After looking the piece over for quite a while, I was able to find out that this is a 75# Trenton anvil. Knowing this brand has a good reputation definitely piqued my interest in this anvil more.

The edges on both sides are in really good shape (the one side has a few dents), the anvil has probably around an 85-90% rebound or more (I did some testing with a hammer so not quite as precise as a bearing), and it rings like all hell consistently across the face (which means, from what I have read, that there is no separation of the steel plate from the wrought body).

The hardy and pritchel are both in solid condition, and, aside from a some denting on the face, the surface of the anvil is flat and smooth. (P.S. is the denting on the surface plate a concern? I would imagine it was caused by someone hitting the plate full force....)

This anvil seems to have been seldom used, if at all. Looks more like someone just wanted to hit the anvil! I mean I can appreciate that, but leaving dents!!!!

Upon a little more inspection, I noticed a but of unconsolidated forge welding at the base of the horn, will this pose an issue? Seems similar to the distinction between the tool steel plate and the wrought...so I am assuming (and hoping) that this is just cosmetic and shouldn't render an issue with use.

I paid $350 for this anvil. I know that is a bit more than other parts of the country /# but when I add shipping to the anvils that are more readily available...it's kind of a wash anyway.


Let me know what you guys think of the purchase!


Thanks much,









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You need to apply HOT metal to the face and watch the shine come to the surface. Light oil or ATF to the body with a soft cotton cloth.

You should keep track of the hours that you use the anvil, and the amount of sales of items you make across the face. Be honest and write down a fair price for what you make, whether you sell it or give it away. The number of hours is learning, the sales figure is how long it took the anvil to pay for itself. Both are good references.

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Yeah for sure looks that way! Any way to repair it, or better off just letting it be?


Black Frog, I will definitely post pictures of it once I get it all cleaned up! Going to a friends soon, he has the tools to ease the process (:

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Yes the best way to repair it is to beat red to yellow hot steel on it for 30 years or so.  It will be gleaming and smooth faced afterwards.

People usually do much more damage trying to improve anvils for example grinding or milling the face of the anvil: as the life of an anvil is determined by the thickness of the face they are throwing away decades of uselife---like taking a used car and putting an extra hundred thousand miles on it to "improve it". (Even worse many machinists assume that the top and bottom are parallel and I've seen several where they milled *through* the hardened face destroying the anvil as an anvil)

The other way is welding and many welders do not have experience welding on high carbon steel with so much steel around it that it will autoquench and crack in the HAZ. Or they don't know about drawing the temper from the hardened face with their welding turning an anvil into a door stop. (a recent post involved a person making anvils who said he could get them heat treated for US $3 a pound...)

REMEMBER sharp edges were considered a flaw in anvils and smiths were expected to dress them to suit their work and methods of working!

If you absolutely must: for milling---turn the anvil over and mill the the base parallel to the face and then flip and just kiss the face.  For welding check Robb Gunther's anvil repair method

And Finally---JUST USE IT AS IT IS!

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Anvils used in mechanic shops and metal work shops are used cold as a support to straighten something or rivet stuff together. Not surprisingly they get a face like that. 

If you understand that the face of a less than super hard anvil can get marks from a hammer, you can also understand that working hot iron on the face can correct some of those marks with time. 

Furthermore a less than smooth face will only make your work look more interesting. It is called texturing. You will get it by default. 

It is a nice first anvil even when a bit small for general blacksmithing. You will buy a few more in no time if you get to work and build up your workshop. 

Now find a few hammers, tongs and a forge and get cracking :)

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I think I get the tone of the responses which is to just use the thing! HEARD! Oh and that trying to fix an anvil usually does more harm, and that  I really had no intentions of doing any work to the face as I have no experience and wouldn't put my FIRST anvil through such a horrifying experience haha. I appreciate your input Mr. Powers!

Thank you for your input Marc (:

For now just learning the basics of blacksmithing and plan on honing those skill son simple projects like fire pokers, various tongs, light tooling, and maybe some ornamentals. It is hard for me to always attend the monthly courses offered through the CBA because of my work schedule, so having a set up at home will allow me to get more forging days in while learning to basic skills from solid teachers.


Again, thank you!

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Dielonx5, please don’t quote so extensively: it makes the forum harder to read and makes it load more slowly for our members without high-speed broadband. If you want to answer something specific, highlight it and click the “quote this” box that will appear. 

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Deilonx5 you didn't do too bad.  Remember, if you are in an area where anvils fall out of trees yeah you overpaid, but you are in a place where they are far and few between. If you picked it up yourself, you saved a significant amount in shipping.  The little dents and things are not a big deal.  Like others have said, square corners and a dead flat surface are overrated and not the norm for most old anvils.  I always tell people if they want a perfect anvil to buy a new one.  Since my anvil face isn't perfectly straight and level, I got a block of steel that I mounted to a post and it serves as a flatter station for anything I need perfectly flat & smooth or if I need sharp/square edges. See picture below (It's mounted securely with brackets to hold the metal piece to the post on a bed of silicone caulking as it rang like a bell.  That was my fix for not having a flat and square anvil face/edges.  It also works great for a quick and dirty "anvil" when I just need to do a quick project and don't feel like wheeling out my anvil & stump.


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Thanks for the input on the anvil MC Hammer! (I like the name haha!) Luckily the edges are pretty sharp, but radiused, for most of the anvil. There really is only like 2 or 3 dents on the anvil in one spot, and the face is quite flat actually. I was noticing that the pitch of the anvil was a little more dull on the step, but as I was reading another post another mentioned that this area isn't hardened - which makes sense! The horn sings like no other..and the heel..man its as loud as a church bell haha.

I really like that flat surface anvil. Super practical and easy! Nice piece to use as a portable anvil as well!

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